Prescription drugs have dominated health care in the U.S. for as long as anyone can remember. Whenever there is health care policy discussion, whether it be Medicare coverage or the Affordable Care Act, prescription drug coverage is central to the discussion. Things like wellness, preventive care and complementary medicine are scantly mentioned.
It’s no wonder then that heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, lung disease and a host of other degenerative diseases claim so many lives each year and ravage the quality of life of many millions more; most of whom are on the fast track to becoming one of these disease mortality statistics.
How did we get so accustomed to relying on Rx meds for our health? Things have gotten better, with the growing popularity of wellness evangelists such as Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Andrew Weill, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Mark Hyman, Mark Sisson and David Wolfe; not to mention the hundreds of health bloggers (like me) and indie film producers.
But despite this growing awareness of the need for wellness care and natural healing, the vast majority of the population is still stuck in the mindset of “I have to get my meds!”
While some medications can suppress symptoms and make living more manageable, they should be considered the negative alternative to acquiring health. Medications are meant to disrupt physiological processes that are involved in symptoms and disease processes, but in doing so, other non-affected systems pay the price. This of course is called side effects of the drugs (when actually, they should be called the effects of the drugs).
Check your drug’s side effects on the online Physician’s Desk Reference
For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, naproxen) fight pain by inhibiting the production of a substance called prostaglandin, which is associated with pain generation. Well, prostaglandins are also needed by the cells lining the stomach and gut, so taking drugs like Motrin and Alleve are known to cause nausea, and who knows what else. They may even have the potential to cause leaky gut syndrome. Another side effect of these drugs is that blood flow to the kidneys is reduced, which can lead to renal failure.
Or the case of statin drugs – those that block cholesterol production. Statin drugs like Lipitor and Crestor lower cholesterol production alright, but guess what important structures depend on cholesterol in order to function properly? Nerves, including the spinal cord and brain.
Nerve coverings depend on cholesterol for their structure. If there is not enough available, nerves can malfunction, which can appear as involuntary twitches/shaking, muscle weakness and pain. It’s like a power cord losing its rubber insulation allowing the electricity to go in an undesirable path.
The human body has a powerful ability to heal and regenerate on its own, so efforts to heal from a diseased state should center on optimizing this innate power. This means reducing stress, moving one’s body frequently, emphasizing nutrient-dense, naturally occurring food in one’s diet, getting eight hours of restful sleep each day, getting social fulfillment, and avoid ingesting environmental toxins as best as one can.
I understand that for some unfortunate people, the disease process has reached a state where it overcomes the body’s ability to repair itself. This is the circumstance where prescription medications become an option, a personal choice. But it doesn’t mean one cannot engage in the above healthy lifestyle practices at the same time. If you are on medications, then do your best to do the things within your power and ability that will give your body the best chance of repairing itself.
Back to prescription drug use:
Did you know that pharmaceutical companies spend about $4 billion marketing to consumers like me and you, but spend a staggering $24 billion marketing to doctors? They know that doctors decide what medications to prescribe to their patients. They are the pushers of drug companies’ products (I don’t mean to offend, but I could not think of a better word to describe this function than “pusher”). Drug companies have even been caught bribing doctors with gifts if they agreed to prescribe their drugs – how’s that for health care?
So, whenever you are advised by your doctor to take a certain prescription medication, use your judgment. Be aware that there is some marketing at work here. I am not saying not to take your medications; only to be aware of this when you make your decision.
Here is a light-hearted video that explains this very serious issue that impacts the health of millions of people, and therefore the economy and our national well-being: